Stakeholder Engagement and Materiality
To understand the issues and opportunities our stakeholders find most significant to our organization, BrownFlynn actively engaged internal and external stakeholders in our reporting process. We used an electronic survey to gather feedback from our external stakeholders about their perceptions of BrownFlynn, our significant social, environmental and economic impacts, and the kinds of activities they would like to see BrownFlynn support or conduct in the future. We asked current, past and potential clients, vendors, community partners, non-profits, alliance partners, advisory board members, friends, business colleagues and former employees to participate, and their feedback helped us to determine report content. Many external stakeholders asked for more information about our Firm's service offerings, which is why we have prioritized this information in our first report.
For our internal engagement, BrownFlynn hosted a series of staff meetings and a retreat. Using Appreciative Inquiry, we engaged staff in a process to uncover the organization's postive core and create a shared vision for the future. During our retreat, we identified BrownFlynn's greatest strengths and established goals to advance our growth. After determining broad strategies for achieving our goals, we created internal teams to build on our strengths, implement our strategies for sustainability and respond to stakeholder concerns.
While we used these specific methods of engagement as a formal part of the reporting process, stakeholder engagement is an ongoing effort. In addition to our staff retreat, BrownFlynn encourages frequent internal stakeholder engagement and transparency through weekly business update meetings. We strive to keep staff informed regarding the state of the business and to foster employee trust and productivity.
We intend to conduct an external stakeholder survey annually to ensure our report and other communications are meeting the needs of our varied stakeholders, but it is our sincere hope that those individuals feel comfortable contacting us any time. We welcome feedback specific to this report or our sustainability commitment and activities at email@example.com
"BrownFlynn has been on the forefront of sustainability which gives them history and credibility in this area. BrownFlynn's opportunities are to take a leadership role in working on sustainable issues, with sustainable clients, in a sustainable manner."
- External Feedback from BrownFlynn's Stakeholder Engagement Survey
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) materiality principle asserts that report content and sustainability goals should be material, or relevant, to a reporting organization and its stakeholders for maximum effectiveness. Material issues or topics:
- Reflect the reporting organization's significant environmental, social or economic impacts,
- Are identified as important by internal and/or external stakeholders, and/or
- Relate to particular contemporary or regional sustainability trends identified by sustainability professionals, scientific experts, etc.
According to GRI, an organization should report on all of its material topics, typically associated with specific G3 performance indicators. To do so, the organization should either fully disclose relevant performance data or information, or explain the reason(s) for excluding certain performance information from the report.
After identifying BrownFlynn's most significant impacts and engaging internal and external stakeholders, the sustainability report team completed a materiality exercise to determine which issues are most significant to our company and stakeholders. Because we are a small consulting firm, many of the GRI indicators are not as relevant to our business as they would be to a company that manufactures a product or is larger in size. However, we did include as material those topics that reflect significant impacts relative to our own organization (for example, transportation impacts) even if they represent a relatively small impact in comparison to other organizations. We also included topics in which our impact may be small (for example, water use) but for which we feel responsible for managing as a part of our commitment to "walking the talk" as sustainability consultants.
A complete list of material indicators can be found in our GRI Content Index with reference to fully disclosed information or reasons for not including certain information in this report.